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Kate Middleton's baby: excitement builds outside hospital

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Royal baby fever is reaching its peak as pregnant Kate Middleton's due date looms, with the Duchess of Cambridge expected to give birth on 13 July.Photographers, journalists and television crews from around the world are on official royal baby watch, and for the past week have been stationed outside the private Lindo Wing where Kate is scheduled to give birth.

To make the wait easier and to pass the time, members of the press have found several ways to amuse themselves while sitting in their pens.

NBC News London has set up a royal baby sweepstakes in one area, strictly for members of the press, to guess when Kate will give birth, with each bet costing £5.It seems the media haven't quite lost their sense of humour after days of camping, with a notice on the sweepstakes saying, "Guaranteed to be born on a day ending in a 'Y'!" and a warning that no correspondence with midwives are allowed.

"Please don't feed the photographers," "OK...bored now," and "Will swap for a Mars bar!" are other amusing signs that have been attached to the numerous ladders and railings, keeping the mood light.

In another area, a betting station where press can guess the name of the baby has been drawn up. Possible royal baby names for a girl and a boy such as Victoria, George and Elizabeth can be seen listed on a chalk board.Hundreds of photographers and television crews have claimed spots in the press pens, using masking tape to mark their territory on the pavement.

Some US networks have reportedly hired security guards to secure their camera positions around the clock, while others are rumoured to have booked taxis to park permanently in the spaces they want for their satellite trucks.

Although Kate is due to give birth in the next couple of days, no sign of her arriving has been seen. It is speculated the royal baby could be born before the announced due date, just as Princess Diana fooled the media, giving birth to Prince William about a week before expected.

When Baby Cambridge is born, a royal official will appear at the entrance of the Lindo Wing with an envelope bearing the details of the baby.

The envelope will then be handed to a royal messenger, bound for Buckingham Palace, and the statement will be displayed in the palace's forecourt for the public to see.

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